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  • Writer's pictureJKB

Frog Futures

I think your future depends on knowing what to do with frogs.

When I was a kid, there was a small canal near my house and I used to love hopping the 6-foot cinder block wall with my buddy, Chris, to play in the small aqueduct. One of our favorite things to do when we landed in the somewhat marshy canal was find and chase frogs. We weren't sure what to do with them when we caught them, but the joy was in the journey. Now, I'm a grown up and I have a different take: Frogs are gross. Super gross. If I found one in my house, I wouldn't gleefully run after it. I would scream and find a broom to "escort" it out the door. But I'll argue that my future--your future--relies on returning to a childlike fascination with these disgusting things. Finding them. Catching them. Learning what to do with them.

  • If you want to get healthier, you'll need some frogs.

  • If you want to experience financial freedom, you'll need some frogs.

  • If you want to grow in your faith, you'll need some frogs.

  • If you want a great marriage, you'll need some frogs.

Before you puke, let me explain. In an ancient letter, there's an often-cited segment about one of the reasons God allows hard things to happen to good people (a question you might wrestle with from time to time). The writer of the letter suggests that one of the many loving goals God is accomplishing through hard things is the development of character and fortitude. The letter makes the solid case that a loving father, if he really believes in what his child is capable of, would routinely allow burdens, pain, and struggle to bear down on the child to give them a chance to develop grit, character, and wisdom. Future-making is what great discipline is meant to do in a life.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (Hebrews 12:11, New Living Translation)

Which leads me back to frogs and what to do with them. If we understand the "frogs" as the less-desirable choices, habits, moments, risks, and conversations (the gross stuff), we'll see frogs everywhere. And, I would contend, the presence of these disgusting things is a sign that a loving God sees incredible potential for you. So let me briefly suggest 2 choices to make with your frogs.


You've likely heard this adage as a way of illustrating what it's like to get a good thing going. Every big dream or opportunity is laced with some undesirable choices, and some of the most exciting outcomes in life begin with un-fun routines, conversations, and boundaries. In my work, I often encourage the people I serve to identify the aspects of their vision that they are avoiding or tolerating and get honest about how it feels. The unsavory-but-necessary parts of a goal often bring up emotional responses like,

  • "It feels boring."

  • "It feels tedious."

  • "It feels slow."

  • "No one will care."

  • "I thought this would be easier."

Once we're clear on how it feels when we're staring at these warty things in our hands, we can then consider the idea that success won't happen when we feel differently about...

  • starting the workout,

  • finishing the application,

  • making it to therapy,

  • writing that crappy first draft,

  • and practicing our scales...

but the feeling is an expected part of any journey to the life we want.

Eat that frog. It's probably good for you. (and BONUS! It'll make everything else taste sweeter.) I like to expand this metaphor a little bit to include another unobvious choice...


I highly recommend you kiss a lot of frogs, because you never know when you'll get a prince. These "frogs" aren't the ongoing challenges of personal development, character, and skill. The frogs of the kissable kind are the risks that, despite how it feels, have potentially huge rewards for momentary discomfort. These are the nasty things which elicit emotions like,

  • "It feels scary."

  • "It feels uncertain."

  • "It feels out-of-the-ordinary."

  • "She'll never say 'Yes'."

  • "I've never done that before."

And while there's no guarantee of outcome (ever), there's a guarantee that the best surprises and opportunities are on the other side of...

  • asking him to mentor you,

  • coming clean to your spouse,

  • quitting your job,

  • seeking help,

  • actually saying, "I don't understand, can you explain?"

  • requesting a raise or new responsibilities.

Kiss that frog. Magic might happen. (and BONUS! It'll be easier to kiss more of them in the future.) PS: If you want more expanded work on these ideas, I highly recommend Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy and Leadership Pain by Sam Chand.

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